Monday 23 April 2018

Seamus Coleman: I’m hungry to make major tournament

By Damian Spellman

SEAMUS Coleman is determined to erase the memories of his Euro 2012 disappointment by booking a World Cup adventure.

The 24-year-old Everton defender did not make the Republic of Ireland squad for last summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine, and could only look on from afar as Giovanni Trapattoni's men so drastically under-performed.

 

Eight months or so on, the survivors of that ill-fated campaign are busily attempting to repair the damage by qualifying for the World Cup finals in Brazil, but the hunger is as strong with the new generation of players who have joined them since.

 

Coleman has been a member of the senior squad for some time, but in recent fixtures has made the right-back spot his own.

 

He said: "I have been in and around the squad and I haven't got as many games as I would have liked, but it definitely keeps me hungry.

 

"One of my aims is to get to a major tournament with my country after missing out in the summer at the Euros.

 

"I'm sure there are a lot of lads out there who didn't go to the Euros who want to play in a major competition, so there is good hunger in the squad."

 

Coleman's form for both club and country has seen him take a major step forward in his career this season.

 

However, the former Sligo Rovers player is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

 

He said: "I am happy in the team, but you can never take anything for granted. You have got a lot of players who want to come in and take your place.

 

"Stephen Kelly has been training well this week and playing well for Reading, so you can't take anything for granted.

 

"I am happy in the team, but I need to keep working and playing well to stay in it."

 

Coleman will start once again against Austria tomorrow night as the Republic attempt to build upon the 0-0 draw with which they returned from Sweden on Friday.

 

That saw them slip to fourth place in Group C behind the Swedes and the Austrians, but victory tomorrow night would see them climb into second behind Germany, and that become the focus immediately after the final whistle at the Friends Arena.

 

Asked if the game was a must-win affair, Coleman said: "Definitely, it's must-win.

 

"Obviously if you get a point it's not the end of the world, but we want all three points without a shadow of a doubt.

 

"We are going into that game to win the game and I think we have the calibre of players to do so, and in front of our home fans there's no better place to do it.

 

"That was the response in the changing room after the game. We were all happy with the point and we all said 'Well done' to each other, but straight away we knew that Tuesday night is a big one.

 

"We will prepare as well as we can for that game and we will be going all out to get the three points."

 

As so often in the past during Trapattoni's reign, defensive resilience proved key to the positive result in Stockholm.

 

However, there is an acceptance that Ireland will have to take a more proactive approach tomorrow night.

 

Coleman said: "The game is there for the taking, really, and I'm sure we will be going out to attack them and get some goals."

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